I would like to share my vision the possibilities to prevent the return of H7N9. All measures taken in the past to stop major outbreaks have totally failed in every sense of the word. It is time for radical change in dealing with outbreaks. This is my step-by-step approach to battle outbreaks.
In May 2013, the results of the assessment of the Anoxia Method were published in Poultry Science (2013 Poultry Science 92:1145–1154). The focus of the assessment was on the welfare implications for poultry of the use of high-expansion gas-filled foam as a potentially humane, emergency killing method.
In laboratory trials, broiler chickens, adult laying hens, ducks, and turkeys were exposed to air-, N2-, or CO2-filled high expansion foam (expansion ratio 300:1) under standardized conditions.
One of the main conclusions was that the Anoxia Method is fundamentally different from low expansion fire fighting foam. Physiological observations and postmortem examination showed that the mode of action of the Anoxia Method is anoxia, not occlusion of the airway.
The most important conclusion however is that the trials provide proof – of – principle for the Anoxia Method (submersion in gas-filled, high expansion foam).
McKeegan et al concluded: The Anoxia Method provides a rapid and highly effective method of euthanasia, which may have potential to provide humane emergency killing or routine depopulation.
Interesting presentation of Dr. Mohan Raj, Bristol University, on the different methods of culling, a bit outdated, but still informative. Caring during crisis: Animal welfare during pandemics and natural disasters ; Humane killing of animals for disease control purposes. In this presentation you will find an overview of pro’s and con’s of the different techniques. Dr. Raj concluded that the Anoxia method was one of the most promissing techniques available, but at the time of presentation, the technique was not fully develeoped. Today, the technique has been evaluated and is ready to be implemented.
This month, a long awaited report has been published in Poultry science in the edition of May 2013. The team concluded that the trials conductedduring this study provide proof-of-principle thatsubmersion in gas-filled, high expansion foam is a rapid and highly effective method of euthanasia, which may have potential to provide humane emergency killing or routine depopulation action of high expansion, gas-filled foam is anoxia.
Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza have necessitated the large scale killing of poultry that have either contracted or been exposed to the disease. In this pilot study, published in 2008, the conclusion is that the Anoxia method is a potentially acceptable killing method for laying hens.
On-Farm Killing Of Poultry Using Gas – UK Experiences from January 2007. David Pritchard (Senior Veterinary Consultant Animal Welfare) and Gordon Hickman (Head of Contingency Planning), both in their role of advising DEFRA on animal welfare issues, describing mass depopulation methods, comaring these methods with the Anoxia method of using Nitrogen base gas foam. Today, their presentation is still very relevant, since it was the start of what has become the Anoxia method.
Interesting read, including nice graphics!
Interesting article in The Poultry Site dated July 2007 by A. Bruce Webster, Extension Poultry Scientist, University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He concludes that there does not appear to be a good method at present for mass depopulation of commercial caged layer flocks in situations where humans could be infected by a disease carried by the birds.
Existing methods described briefly in this article either require extensive human-bird contact, which would probably be refused by the people assigned to remove the birds, or are likely to be impractical in the time frame required. Should an emergency arise that calls for mass depopulation of commercial caged layer flocks, it is difficult to think what might actually happen.
Although a mass depopulation event would be hard for any poultry company to cope with, it would be particularly devastating for an egg company with flocks concentrated in a complex of houses on one property. This and the lack of a good depopulation procedure make biosecurity a special imperative for the layer industry; even more so than for other sectors of the poultry industry. If an AI outbreak occurs in the vicinity of a commercial layer flock, vaccination of the flock may help contain the outbreak without going to the extreme of mass depopulation, provided biosecurity procedures have kept the flock shielded from the virus. Egg companies should seriously consider upgrading their biosecurity efforts.
This month, we started a project in China to develop a new method for mass depopulation of commercial caged layer flocks using the Anoxia method. This project is interesting because most industrial layer farms in China still use cages. With the current H7N9 outbreak in China, the development of such system is more than needed because depopulation of the layer hens on these farms would probably lead to situations where humans could be infected.
Read the article: Depopulation Methods for a Commercial Layer Flock
Once the source of the H7N9 infection is found, how should the Chinese authorities you organize the response? Regarding that it is more than likely that animal-to-human contact could cause a human pandemic, all existing response methods are doomed to fail.
One of the remaining options is the novel Anoxia method, based on the absence of oxygen under atmospheric conditions. When the Chinese authorities able to apply this technique throughout all provinces, using well-equipped and trained firefighters, they could be able to stop the pandemic before it starts. The Anoxia method is therefore the weapon of choice.
In the attached presentation, you will find a detailed description of a new animal welfare application based on the use of mobile nitrogen generation: The N2GF Technology. Nitrogen gas foam has some astonishing features:
• Simplicity – creating nitrogen gas foam follows a simple protocol – the systems are easy to assemble – easy to operate – easy to clean & disinfect;
• Cost effective – only affordable disposal materials are used for the culling bag – no maintenance costs – low investments. Compared to existing Co2 systems, the consumption of gas is reduced by up to 80%;
• Safe culling – Nitrogen is non-toxic – safe storage/transport – safe disposal;
• Animal welfare – once the animals are exposed to 99,5% nitrogen in the foam, they are stunned and slaughtered within 1,5 minutes by anoxia;
• Stability – when the gas foam is used in a container, the foam at the entrance of the container works as concealment.
This technology forms the basis for a new slaughter concept based on the use of high expansion foam, filled with 99,5% nitrogen.
Read more about this exiting new technology: